A photo of a Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)
Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Hydrophasianus chirurgus

The pheasant-tailed jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) is a jacana in the monotypic genus Hydrophasianus. Like all other jacanas, they have elongated toes and nails that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. They may also swim or wade in water reaching their body while foraging mainly for invertebrate prey. They are found in tropical Asia from Yemen in the west to the Philippines in the east and move seasonally in parts of their range. They are the only jacanas that migrate long distances and have different non-breeding and breeding plumages. The pheasant-tailed jacana forages by swimming or by walking on aquatic vegetation. The pheasant-tailed jacana is conspicuous and unmistakable. It is the longest species in the jacana family when the tail streamers are included. The breeding plumage is marked by the elongated central tail feathers that given the bird its name. The body is chocolate brown, the face is white, and the back of the crown is black with white stripes running down the sides of the neck, separating the white of the front of neck and the silky golden yellow of the nape. The wings are predominantly white. In flight the white wing shows a black border formed by black on the outermost primaries and the tips of the outer secondaries and the primaries. The wing coverts are pale brown and the scapulars may be glossed green or purple. In the non-breeding season the top of the head and back are dark brown and only a trace of the golden nape feathers may be seen. A dark eyestripe runs down the sides of the neck and forms a dark necklace on a slightly sullied white front. The outer two primaries have a slender (lanceolate or spatulate) extension that broadens at the tip. The fourth primary has an acute tip formed by the shaft after the loss of webbing. Young birds have brown upper parts and the dark necklace is broken. Some traces of the black stripe on the side of the neck and white wings separate them from somewhat similar looking immatures of the bronze-winged jacana. They have strongly developed sharp white carpal spurs which are longer in females. The spurs may also undergo moult, but this has not been specifically described in this species. The tail is short and strongly graduated. The bill is more slender than in the bronze-winged and is bluish-black with a yellow tip when breeding and dull brown with yellowish base when not breeding. The legs are dark bluish grey and the iris is brown.
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Pheasant-tailed Jacanas on Birda



A map showing the sighting location
Profile picture for Amit Purandare
Amit Purandare
Thursday 31 Aug 2023 - 6:38am
A map showing the sighting location
Losan XU
Tuesday 25 Jul 2023 - 12:19am
A map showing the sighting location
Hemant Kirola
Sunday 02 Jul 2023 - 7:29am
A photo of a Pheasant-tailed Jacana photographed in  Hong Kong
Monita Chan
Sunday 11 Jun 2023 - 7:00am
Hong Kong

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